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Can the Internet Handle the Stress Of Coronavirus?

Coronavirus Internet Stress Test Questionable

Credit: Financial Times

With the impact of the coronavirus resulting in so many stay at home and shelter in place orders, the demand on connectivity is higher than ever…

From Miami to Seattle, “Stay at Home” orders have sequestered millions of Americans in their homes. Social distancing has made normal, day-to-day interactions and face-to-face meetings ill-advised and all but impossible without scarce protective equipment. The pandemic has forced Americans to work from home and interact digitally, and the internet is feeling the stress.

Coronavirus Internet Stress Test Questionable

Every home has numerous devices connected to the internet; smart TV’s, phones, computers, appliances, and even the lights can be connected. For the first time, all of these devices are being used almost constantly and sending massive volumes of data across the networks. The result is a network stress test never before imagined. Currently, internet service providers like Verizon and AT&T have stated that the networks can handle the volume, but it’s clear that the pandemic’s effects are only just being felt.

Some heavy broadband streaming services, such as Netflix, Youtube, and Facebook have voluntarily reduced their streaming quality in order to prevent network congestion, but there is no way of knowing exactly how much more stress will be placed on the networks as more and more states and local municipalities issue orders that close business and keep people confined to their homes. At this point, all of the efforts made to keep data flowing across the internet are from service providers on a voluntary basis. However, the US. government has taken an interest.

The Federal Communications Commission is considering what regulations, if any, are needed to strengthen our networks and help companies build and improve infrastructure. Since the Net Neutrality conflict, carriers and internet service providers have been pretty much left to their own judgment on how to go about maintaining and improving the networks. How they do in this Coronavirus stress test may just give the FCC a reason to begin regulating the networks. Only time will tell if they can pass the Coronavirus Network Stress Test.

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